It is acknowledged that not all councils have direct access to Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and not all planners are experts in using GIS.
GIS and analysis tools focuses on the use of GIS and other analysis tools to establish local evidence to support policy and planning positions.
Establishing this evidence is not always done by council officers and planners. However, it is very useful to have a record of change over time and can be undertaken annually by work experience students or junior staff.
Establishing a body of local evidence to support policy and planning positions can be done quite simply and often relatively quickly, with no additional budget. Depending on the approach, it can also be undertaken without access to GIS.
Establishing a body of local evidence can:
- help convince decision makers and politicians of the importance or need for policy, strategies, actions or programs
- generate support for funding
- help policy makers with decision making.
When starting in this area, consider the following questions:
- What information will be useful to gather and compare?
- What types of comparisons will be useful? For example
- over time
- between sites
- between options.
Use of Australian Bureau of Statistics data
The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) website has a variety of information already compiled at the Statistical Local Area, Indigenous Local Area and State Suburb levels. There is much information on the website and well worth the time to find your way around. To get started, the following are recommended.
Visit http://www.abs.gov.au/websitedbs/D3310114.nsf/Home/Census+Data for the following information:
- QuickStats: provides a summary of key Census data relating to persons, families and dwellings. QuickStats covers general topics about a chosen location and includes Australian data to allow comparison
- MapStats: provides thematically mapped Census statistics for a chosen location. The maps illustrate the distribution of selected population, ethnicity, education, family, income, labour force and dwelling characteristics
- Community Profiles: available as six distinct profiles of key Census characteristics on persons, families and dwellings, and covering most topics on the Census form for a chosen location, results are refined to:
- Basic Community Profile: demographic information for an area, including age, ancestry, income, education, family type and more. The data is based on place of usual residence
- Place of Enumeration Profile: basic demographic information for an area, including age, ancestry, income, education, family type and more. The data is based on place of enumeration.
The ABS undertakes a quarterly Survey of Tourist Accommodation (STA). The purpose of the STA is to measure activity in short-term commercial accommodation in Australia. It provides timely and reliable quarterly data for all stakeholders in the Australian tourism industry.
The data can be used for economic analysis of, and policy formulation for, the tourism industry and government investment decision making. The data is also important for monitoring profitability and general trends in the industry.
This data also can provide council with valuable information on ‘visitor nights’ which can help with planning, including for physical activity infrastructure.
The Office of Economic and Statistical Research (OESR) website (http://www.oesr.qld.gov.au/) contains a wide range of demographic, economic and social data relating to Queensland. It also contains information about using statistics and the services OESR provide. Significantly, the OESR has officers who can assist local government to access the right statistics and generate the right reports.